His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros Address for HCHC Convocation

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros

Address for Hellenic College – Holy Cross Convocation

September 14, 2023

Brookline, Massachusetts

President Cantonis,

Your Eminences and Graces,

Honorable Symeon Tegos, Consul General of Greece in Boston,

Reverend Clergy,

Dear Students, Faculty, and Administration,

I will commence this convocation today with the words of the Psalmist – I hope an incitement to us all:

Ἐξηρεύξατο ἡ καρδία μου λόγον ἀγαθόν· λέγω ἐγὼ τὰ ἔργα μου τῷ βασιλεῖ· ἡ γλῶσσά μου κάλαμος γραμματέως ὀξυγράφου. My heart is bringing forth a good word; I speak of my works to the King; my tongue is the pen of a swiftly writing scribe. *

This is my exhortation to this convocation of our precious Σχολή, made precious by the power of the Holy and Life-giving Cross.

In these few words, the Prophet-King David outlines for us the essential nature of the spiritual and theological education that you have come to this Hill of Hope to receive. For both student and teacher, the Psalmist sets forth the principles of the educational process, and we all can benefit by listening deeply to his message.

First“My heart is bringing forth a good word” – these first words bear witness to the fact that we begin and end with the heart, the literal core and essence of our human existence. For, as the Lord said:

It is from the heart that evil and malicious thoughts arise: all kinds of murder, adultery, immorality, stealing, lying, blasphemy. †

My beloved brothers and sisters – here is where we begin – in the inner person, the treasure-chamber of the heart, to which we repair to pray to our Father in secret.‡ We must begin here for this is where we shall end. No one takes any glory from this life – no possessions, no relationships, not even substance of your studies. What we take is what we have in our hearts – for good or ill. And this is the basis for our judgment.

Therefore, let our hearts only compose good words, and bring forth good things into the world and into the direct environment of the School. For as the Lord says in another place:

It is from the superabundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. §

* * *

Second“I speak of my works to the King” – this simple yet elegant phrase makes manifest not only how the heart should speak, but to Whom! Can you imagine a world where every human being was actively conscious of the presence of God when they spoke? It would be amazing to behold.

And yet, we are called to speak to one another, as to the King of Kings our Lord Jesus Christ, no matter the circumstances or conditions. And this makes spiritual sense; for what word can be uttered and be kept secret from God? And more to the point, as our Lord and Savior says, if we have done it unto the least of our brothers or sisters, then we have done it unto the Him,** then the same goes for all our speech. Whatever we have said or failed to say – these have all impacted upon our Lord and God, who without suffering change of any kind, received our words and actions just as much as he received the beatings and humiliations at the hands of those Roman Soldiers.

* * *

Third“my tongue is the pen of a swiftly writing scribe” – this concluding phrase of the verse reveals the intense action that we all must take to ‘bring forth the good word’ and to “speak of our works as to the King.”

Here on this campus, you will write, in tablets of paper, your notes and the Fathers’ quotes – your references and all that you invest for future study. But your tongue – your speech – is also the ‘tongue of a swiftly writing scribe,’ and it reveals the language inscribed on the tablet of your heart. The same way that ‘God spoke and the universe came to be; He commanded and it was created.’ †† So it is with your speech, your words, and the habits of the heart that they reveal.

Therefore, my beloved community of Hellenic College and Holy Cross – and you are truly beloved to me – attend unto these words of the Psalmist in this Ecclesiastical and Academic Year.

Let your hearts bring forth goodness and kindness expressed openly and without reservation.

Speak of your works to the King of Kings in the secret chamber of your hearts, and speak to one another as if before the King of Kings – for in truth you already are. This is the recognition that we are truly living in the Eighth Day of Creation – in the Resurrection of our souls from dead works that preceded the Resurrection of the Dead.

Finally, write upon the tables of your hearts the new Law of Christ – His New Commandment – that we should love one another. There is no greater μάθημα than this.

And we pray that by the power of the Holy Cross exalted on this day, ‘the source of all blessings, and the cause of all graces,’ this precious Σχολή may be the place where all these lessons may be taught and learned.

A blesséd Year to all of you.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the All-Holy Spirit be with you, now and forever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

* Psalm 44:1 (LXX).

† Matthew 15:19

‡ Cf. Matthew 6:6.

§ Matthew 12:34.

** Matthew 25:40.

†† Cf. Psalm 32:8 (LXX).

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